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Half Term at South Yard

D869

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I thought I would introduce South Yard by concentrating on what it is for so here is a picture of South Yard set up in the holiday cottage that we rented last week for our half-term holiday on the North York Moors.

 

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I don't claim any originality in any of South Yard's ideas (or the title of this posting) - the main inspiration came from David Mallott's 'Chapel Wharf', particularly his idea of having a layout that could easily be taken on holiday to provide entertainment in case of inclement weather. Fortunately we didn't have very much inclement weather, but the nights are drawing in so there was plenty of opportunity to run some freight traffic. There might have been passenger traffic too if I had remembered to take the bubble car.

 

South Yard was conceived a long time ago - probably about 2001 as a 'quick' ultra-portable micro layout. I'd partially built a bigger 2mm layout some time prior to this but a house move left it with no suitable place to live. If the 2012 RMWeb challenge is for the longest time to build the least amount of layout then I reckon I'll be in the running.

 

South Yard is set in the back streets of Plymouth. The fictional story is that the LSWR wanted to gain their own access to the Royal Naval Dockyard at Devonport and so built a line off their Stonehouse Pool branch to reach the southern portion of the dockyard (which really is called South Yard) and gain access to the yard's internal rail network via a gate in the yard wall near to the rope walk. A small station was also provided to cater for the yard workforce and local populace. This fiction probably has quite a few holes including some questionable gradients and the elimination of several streets near the yard, but is perhaps no less plausible than the real thing which involved the burrowing of a restricted height tunnel on the internal railway between the various parts of the dockyard.

 

The setting and built environment draws much from David Mallott's inspiration - the Turnchapel Branch, although I've lifted bits of Turnchapel station rather than the wharf and grafted them onto a track layout mostly inspired by John Spencer's Ruyton Road. The dockyard gate was originally inspired by the entrance to Coypool depot from the Marsh Mills branch, although you'd be hard pressed to spot any similarity now. The road bridge and scenic break is from further afield - Exeter Central, the story being that a road widening scheme required replacement of an older bridge. The provender store was recycled from my older layout and was based on the photos of Barnstaple cement depot in the first MRJ Compendium. Finally, the coal merchant's office is based on a photo of the back of a building at Welshpool and pure speculation regarding how the front might have looked.

 

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My original definition of 'ultra portable' was that it should fit into a single compartment of a flight bag (not that I ever intended to take it on a flight). This dictated the 10 by 16 inch area available for the layout and also that it should pack down into something not more than a couple of inches in height. There is no fiddle yard, just an adapter that allows modules to be plugged in. The other ends of the modules are supported by a book of suitable thickness. Here's the layout just back from holiday and still without any of its removeable scenic bits.

 

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South Yard has never actually travelled in the flight bag as originally intended because I was given a rectangular brief case for which I had no real use other than as South Yard's new carry case. This also allowed me to postpone the construction of the originally planned protective case for South Yard.

 

It would be nice to say that South Yard packs down into a nicely designed box complete with integral storage for stock and buildings. It would be nice but it wouldn't be true. The layout itself including buildings, scenery and fiddle yard modules all pack rather untidily into the brief case.

 

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The briefcase then travels in company with a Morrison's shopping bag containing the somewhat bulky power supply (also recycled from my old layout), controller, locos and stock plus a small toolkit and a box with whatever projects I'm optimistically planning to work on while I'm away. Speaking of which, here are the products from three separate weeks' holidays during the summer and Autumn.

 

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Happily, South Yard has completely fulfilled its original purpose and has been taken on holiday on several occasions as well as playing its regular role as the permanent test track in my study/workshop.

 

There is still plenty more to do - the bare bones of the scenery is done (which is a major achievement compared to my previous layouts) but there is plenty more work to do in terms of detailing the coal yard and adding more vegetation. The dockyard could use some actual gates plus an extra module adapter to allow trains to be shunted through them.

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Did I read that right?...a small layout that can be taken away on holiday with you :O and you did... :O :o...R - E - S - P - E - C - T

 

Thanks for posting this Andy...it's nice to finely see it, especially after all the teasers of it when photographing your rolling stock.

 

Seeing as how it does fit in a suit case/flight bag...I will be very happy to see it should you be vacationing in Barcelona one day!

 

It does look like a lot of fun can be had with the layout.

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Did I read that right?...a small layout that can be taken away on holiday with you :O and you did... :O :o...R - E - S - P - E - C - T

 

Well, once I've started a blazing inferno in the log burner and the rest of the party have settled down to watch one of the carefully chosen set of chick flick DVDs that they brought along, what is a chap to do? Actually to be fair they did bring one movie that I would have sat down and watched but they managed to bring the bonus features disc instead of the actual film .

 

Seeing as how it does fit in a suit case/flight bag...I will be very happy to see it should you be vacationing in Barcelona one day! It does look like a lot of fun can be had with the layout.

 

Thanks Pete - I'll bear it in mind, but I don't think that I'm quite as brave as you in terms of what I'll take through airport security. I doubt whether they have a specific rule in their book for ultra-portable model railways, so it's probably down to the initiative of the individual security person... which doesn't sound like a good thing to me.

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Brilliant, and already giving me some ideas!!

 

(building a small 2mm layout, and seeing whether it is practical to operate it mid flight!!)

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Brilliant, and already giving me some ideas!! (building a small 2mm layout, and seeing whether it is practical to operate it mid flight!!)

 

Just because you can doesn't mean that you should... (images of news headlines about flights being diverted due to passengers being scared by unusual shunting behaviour). Don't blame me for putting you up to it!

 

You would definitely need brakes on your stock - some of mine will roll away with the slightest gradient.

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Hi Andy,

 

I like the layout.

 

"....the main inspiration came from David Mallott's 'Chapel Wharf', particularly his idea of having a layout that could easily be taken on holiday...."

 

That was the original intention, but I was single then. If I were to take CW on holiday now it would probably provide grounds for divorce!

 

"My original definition of 'ultra portable' was that it should fit into a single compartment of a flight bag (not that I ever intended to take it on a flight)."

 

Chapel Wharf has managed 2 flights to the UK so far, one of which was post-9/11. Getting it through Security these days is 'interesting' but I like a bit of a challenge.

 

Regards,

David

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I'll bear it in mind, but I don't think that I'm quite as brave as you in terms of what I'll take through airport security

 

As David says, it's an interesting experience...especially if you can drop your bag, get past the scanner and then watch them looking at the x-ray trying to work out strange shapes with small wires connected to little control boxes...I have had more trouble at Gatwick with nothing railway related in my hand luggage than with...still, I would rather they be thorough in their approach.

 

Besides, even if you don't ever fly it...it's nice to know you could...not many layouts can!

 

Do you have any more close of shots of the layout?

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I like the layout.

 

Thanks David, and thanks for the original inspiration.

 

Do you have any more close of shots of the layout?

 

No, but I do have a camera :)

 

I did end up writing a bunch more stuff when writing this post but it was getting a bit long winded so I thought I would save the detail for another day.

 

I must also get round to taking some photos with a proper means of keeping the camera steady because hand held close-ups are pretty hit and miss (mainly miss) with the layout residing on its usual (ahem) Ikea Ivar shelf.

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with the layout residing on its usual (ahem) Ikea Ivar shelf.

 

isn't that what IKEA shelves are designed for? ;)

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isn't that what IKEA shelves are designed for? ;)

 

Could be... but if I must build 2mm layouts to fill all of the Ikea shelving in my house then that will take a very long time... and I'll have nowhere to keep my railway books.

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